Learning How to Play a New Instrument

Written By: Francesca

Ahhh music. Where would we be without it? Musicâ€"which is defined as "the art or science of combining vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion"â€"has tremendous and profound effects in people and the world as a whole.

Music has the ability to stir up emotions. It has the power to entertain, inspire, and in some cases, heal certain ailments. No wonder it's been named as "the panacea for all woes."

Yes, music is truly a significant part of people's lives, and being able to listen to it is already a blessing in itself. However, some individuals aren't just content with listening to musicâ€"they also want to take part in actually creating it.

If you're one of those people, read on. This article will discuss the basics of learning how to play a musical instrument. Whether you're a person who dreams of becoming a recording artist one day, or you simply want to take up a new hobby, the following steps are what you need to take in order to pick up the skills of playing a new instrument:

1. Select an Instrument

The first step of course, is deciding what instrument you wish to master. When picking an instrument, it's best to consider how you feel about the musical device. Passion plays a huge role in creating music, so you need to select something that you feel positively about. Determine the musical instruments that you're drawn to and pick one from there. Don't select an instrument just because people are telling you to do it. You are going to be spending a lot of time with the instrument that you pick, so again, choose something that you actually feel good about.

2. Do your homework

Before rushing in to buy your instrument, be sure to do prior research. Learn the history and theory behind the instrument, as this will help you understand how it's played and what it's for. Also make an effort to see it action. Attend a local concert or demonstration. If this isn't possible, go online and watch videos of it being played.

Certain musical instruments can be pricey so learn as much as you can about your selection, and see if it's really right for you, before heading to the store and buying it.

3. Get your hands on an instrument

Once you've decided on what musical instrument to play, it's time to actually get your hands on it. One option is to purchase one from a local music store or online. If you're on a budget, see if you can snag a used piece and go from there. You can also ask your friends and relatives to see if you can borrow an instrument from them.

4. Practice

This is probably the most important step in learning how to play. Don't expect to be great at playing if you're just starting out. Depending on the instrument and your skills, it could take time to fully master how to play it. Whether you're teaching yourself how to play the instrument or working with a coach, it's crucial to pick up the instrument on a regular basis and practice playing. Schedule training sessions often and don't miss them. It takes a lot of commitment to learn a new instrument so be sure to stick to it.

5. Play in front of people

Once you've mastered the instrument, it's time to show off your skills. Gather up your friends and family and play your instrument for them. Depending on your skill level, you can invite your whole class and clan to see you play, or you can keep it to just a few select people. Feeling gusty? See if you can play at an actual recital. Whatever your decision is, the key in this step is actually getting in front of other people to play.

6. Go back to Step 4

Don't just stop at playing in front of an audience. Once you've accomplished this step, work on improving your skills. Reinvent yourself, and practice some more so you can take your music to the next level.

Want to learn more about starting (or furthering) your music education? The following websites serve as great resources:

http://www.berklee.edu/majors/music_ed.html - Official website of the Berklee College of Music
http://www.nammfoundation.org - The NAMM Foundation is a non-profit organization with the mission of advancing active participation in music making across the lifespan.
http://www.usc.edu/schools/music/programs/mued/ - USC Thorton School of Music
http://www.chordbook.com/ - Chordbook.com lets you play with interactive chords, scales, and tuners.
http://www.musicnotes.com - The world's largest Internet-based sheet music retailer and publisher
http://www.isme.org/ - International Society for Music Education
http://www.nafme.org/ - National Association for Music Education
http://www.rockstarmusiceducation.org/ - RockSTAR employs professional musicians who help students develop their skills on guitar, bass, drums, keyboard and vocals turning them into rockstars.

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